Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Science Center announce partnership for operations of Children’s Museum

Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Science Center today announced a new partnership for the Science Center to assume operations of the Detroit Children’s Museum, which will mean enhancements to the museum and cost-savings for DPS.

Under the new 10-year agreement, the Science Center accepts responsibility of providing funds and/or soliciting funding to cover the costs associated with the operation of the buildings of Children’s Museum, located at 6134 2nd Avenue, Detroit.

The agreement means annual savings for Detroit Public Schools, amounting to $891,000 plus $450,000 in grant funds. The district saves $415,000 in wages and fringe benefits, $126,000 from utilities and custodial work and $350,000 from collection repair and upkeep. The estimated savings over the life of the contract are $11.9 million.

“Our partnership with the Detroit Science Center to assume operations of the Children’s Museum is the best possible outcome for the children of Detroit and for the future of the museum,” said Robert Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager. “The museum will be able to expand its outreach to many more children and families and tap into a vast array of experts and resources.”

The school system and Science Center share the same goals to have the Detroit Children’s Museum become an educational resource for the children, teachers and the community in the Detroit Metro area.

“The Children’s Museum has long been one of Detroit’s gems. When it closed in August, we were determined to do whatever it took to bring it back better than ever. The Detroit Science Center and the Detroit Public Schools, working together, will make it the most innovative and important children’s museum in the nation,” said Detroit Science Center President & CEO Kevin F. Prihod.

The agreement, which is effective January 1, 2010, is expected to enhance the service quality of the Children’s Museum building, including programming, collections, exhibits, displays, and student opportunities.
Several Open House opportunities will be held for the community to see the facilities starting in March 2010.
All contents of the building will stay, but remain property of DPS. New items acquired would be property of the Detroit Science Center.

The Science Center’s plan for the museum includes:

Field Trips – K-6 grade students will have the opportunity to experience exhibits, shows, and demonstrations at the DCM and DSC. These field trip experiences will provide the students with learning opportunities that are aligned with the MI Grade Level Content Expectations (“GLCE’s”). They also will give the students a unique hands-on interactive interdisciplinary program that helps them make real-world connections.

Outreach Programming – The outreach program will have both classroom workshops and group programming available. These programs also will be aligned to the MI GLCE’s and will provide interactive learning opportunities. These programs will provide teachers an alternative or additional experience for their students to learn certain science related topics.

On-site programming – The DSC will reorganize and create new exhibits at the Children’s Museum. The exhibits, demonstrations and shows will provide the students/teachers with an in-depth exploration of science, math, reading and social studies concepts. The Science Center will incorporate signage, exhibits, demonstration areas and interactive hands-on activities to create a dynamic learning environment.

The DSC also will offer a variety of programs for the parents and children of the Detroit Metro area community. The programs will include reading literacy groups, family activities, including topics such as Mommy & Me, Daddy & Me, and monthly and seasonal themed activities. These activities will allow parents and children to explore the exhibits and engage in hands-on interactive programs throughout the year.

Artifact kits (modules) – The former lending collection will be revamped into learning modules on a variety of topics that are covered in the classroom. The modules will be interdisciplinary, hands-on learning opportunities that utilize artifacts to help students expand their skills and make real-world connections. All of the thematic modules will offer activities that support tactile, visual and auditory learners. The program curriculum will be developed to ensure best practice standards are met. The curriculum will be aligned to MI GLCE’s.
Teacher professional development – As part of this partnership, the DPS and DSC will create professional development opportunities for the teachers in the DPS system to integrate and expand their use of the artifact modules as well as connecting the informal educational experiences at both the DCM and DSC sites. These opportunities will be hands-on interactive programs that will give teachers resources to enhance and extend their classroom curriculum. These opportunities will be offered to the DPS teachers at free or reduced cost depending on funding.

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